Category Archives: Mental Health

New Year’s Eve 2021

It’s new year’s eve again. It’s been another ‘pandemic year’. Perhaps you have started hearing highlights of the year gone by, or people’s reflections, or plans for celebrations to ring in 2022, however ‘muted’ they may be compared to non-pandemic times. But what might be helpful for you to hear?

*You’ve probably learned more in the past two years than you realise, including how to adapt to your changing circumstances. We’ll continue to have to learn to live in a challenging world, but you have made it this far, you can take the next step, don’t give up, and don’t let fear of the unknown future overwhelm you. One day at a time. Encourage yourself and someone else today.

*There are people around you right now, today, whether in person or at the other end of a phone or screen that you can be really grateful for. You may have faced some real losses, or challenges, but even in the pain or struggle, there may still be people you value who are still in your life (even if they are the source of some of your challenges!). It’s worth remembering that and letting it brighten your heart a bit, and maybe even letting them know, especially knowing that not everyone has made it. There are people who are really grateful that you have stayed in touch with them during the pandemic too, and others who you’ve lost touch with that may actually be really pleased to hear from you again. Life is short, don’t be afraid to reach out – now is a good time, and a new year’s greeting a good enough ‘reason’.*

It’s not worth comparing our lives with other people’s, but while things might not be ideal, there are so many things to be thankful for, today. If you have more than enough, think of how you can share that with someone else who might not, whether kindness, love, friendship, encouragement or material things.

*Someone will really benefit from hearing from *you* , perhaps particularly today. There are a lot of people going through some heavy stuff just now, and you never know what difference you might make. ❤ Think about maybe not just sticking to your own circle, and reaching a little further beyond, you might just find some common ground, and you might be the reason for a changed or a saved life!. ❤

*It’s a new year, but while it’s a good time to consider goals and plans, don’t pile on the pressure to do so. Learn your lessons at your pace. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

*You are not your achievements, you are not the sum total of your relationships or connections, your appearance, or your possessions; your life has worth and value regardless of how well or badly you think you are doing, so be kind to your mind, and be kind to other people, and don’t judge them for where they are at. It’s a new year, but it’s ok just to take that one next step.

*Life on earth is fleeting, consider the big questions while you can, and don’t leave regrets. If you have been fortunate enough to come to the realisation of some of life’s big ‘answers’, live them out with all that you’ve got.

*Choose to enjoy the simple things today. If you’re on your own, remember that you’re not alone, the whole world isn’t having a great party that you’re not part of, so find some joy in your own little corner of life and be happy, even if for a moment. ❤ If you’re not on your own, reach out to someone who is 🙂 .

*It’s ok to be going through what you’re going through. Even as we ring in a ‘new year’.

*At least no one is panic buying loo roll this year 😉

*While the pandemic sucks, we still have this gift of life, and it does sometimes help to look around and take notice of all the little and big things we can be grateful for in this moment. Sometimes a bit of perspective helps – there may well be someone out there wishing their life was a bit more like yours or mine. We just need to look at the news to realise that.

*Speaking of which, maybe turn off the news for a while.

*1st Jan 2022 might be a brand new year for you, or ‘just another day’ – whatever the case, I hope you find peace, love, health and a sure hope amidst all the ups and downs of your unknown tomorrows. ❤ x

God bless. x

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Giving yourself permission to move on after pain…

Pain may have marked and marred your life for a long time. It may have cut so deep into your soul that it crippled you and in a way defined you for a very long time. Pain can run very deep especially if we’ve experienced it in childhood during formative and sensitive years. What if your soul has been deeply wounded and your mind shackled, but you’ve pressed on, survived trauma, pushed through and found healing?

Has pain and what happened to you or what you experienced become so fundamental to how you think of yourself and your life that even if you have healed from much of it you find it difficult to think of yourself in a new way or give yourself permission to move on from it?

It can be a challenge to our thinking to allow ourselves to live in the new found freedom we’ve craved for so long. I have been through years of deep inner pain, and yet now I am stepping into a new freedom and inner healing as the balm of God’s healing love and Holy Spirit heals and renews me from the inside out. Yet there are reminders of the things that I went through. But I have a new identity. I no longer need to be defined or crippled by pain or fear. It has been something I’ve spent many many years having to work through and overcome, but now what?

We can begin to use our pain to help others, but what about getting to the stage of completely letting go? I believe those deep soul wounds can only be fully healed by Jesus, even though on our own we can make progress, it doesn’t go to the deepest part of us.

What about living in transformation from victim to victor? Overcome to overcomer? This can take time and shifting our mindset and the things we tell ourselves daily and getting stronger.

I think I’m ready to move forwards, those deep wounds were a pivotal part of my life story and journey, ones that at the time I would never have wanted to go through or experience because they cut so deep, but Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection is far, far greater than that, and God can use the painful things in our life for greater good if we let Him, even if that seems to take a lifetime.

Have you gone through a transformative life experience that was marked by pain and suffering and brokenness? Have you worked hard to heal? Can you give yourself permission to let go and move forwards, using what happened to you to propel you into a brighter future where you can walk in freedom and help other people? Sometimes we go back and forth on these psychological bridges, sometimes we heal a bit and march forwards and then have to slow down and do some more deep healing. But perhaps there comes a time when we can say, that was then and this is now, and now is completely NEW. Now that is a psychological bridge worth crossing over once the raw emotions have healed.

Are you in a place where you can move forwards, even if that doesn’t mean a change in circumstances but just a change within yourself? What’s stopping you? Life is full of transitions, and thankfully, healing can be part of that no matter what has gone before. Give yourself permission to live, to thrive, or to do the hard and painful work of getting there, if need be.

I think of the glory of the Cross, the agonising suffering that Jesus Christ went through for me, and the Glory that He Is in now. If my life is hidden with Christ in God, then surely I can embrace the new, because He has won the victory for me, and His Touch brings the deep healing my soul needs, even if He unravels us from that hurt and pain over time, if we let Him, He will make us free! ❤ Praise be to God. I can be free because of what He did and does for me. By His wounds we are healed. Ask Him, receive from Him, He won’t let you down, even if it is tough to start with, He will see you through.

Take care. Stay safe and strong. x

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Mind your mind….

Believe it or not, your thoughts can influence the course of your life. We need to be aware and mindful of what is going on in our minds and how we are letting things affect us. It can be a jumble in there, but the Truth can make us free, if we know it and apply it.

You might not realise it, but we are also in a spiritual battle, and there is a lot going on that can influence our minds and our thinking. From the lies we are told about ourselves in childhood that shape our sense of self and identity, to the information that we have to process as adults in a changing and challenging world.

Everyday, we allow thoughts to affect us, and it can lead to needing professional help at times, or to affecting our moods.

What is going on in your mind today? What thoughts are you allowing to influence and affect you? Is something from the past creeping into your mind today that either you need to work on or that you need to shut the door on?

Are you able to be present today, are you able to know your identity and worth?

Take your thoughts captive. Don’t let them take you captive. Be blessed. x

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Do the thing in front of you…. <3

We live in a world where there is so much going on right now, we can allow this to impact negatively upon our thinking, our processing, our existing and living.

We can sometimes look at our day ahead or even worry about our whole life and future and that of those around us and feel a bit overwhelmed.

You’re not alone if you feel that way.

We can only live one day at a time, one moment at a time, and there may be something for you to do today that is part of a bigger picture, a greater plan. Just take that next step, without fear if you can.

Do that next household task, write that new encouraging blog post to lift someone’s mood and day, you never know someone might be reading it, even if you never find out about this, send that encouraging message or text to a friend and let them know they’re not alone.

Do that next thing to take care of your health. Take that next small step. Be present. Don’t let the fear of life take away the joy of living, by faith, today. Even in this troubled world there is still wonder in the small moments. ❤ x

And if you are His, and know the Reality of Him, remind yourself: “This is the day that The LORD has made, let us rejoice and give thanks in it”.

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Ruminator, Rescued or Rescuer….

We all have ‘niggling’ thoughts from time to time. Some of us have had to overcome more traumatic thoughts or episodes in our lives, when thoughts really got ‘stuck’ because we couldn’t process an event or circumstance in our life, especially if we were children at the time.

However, no matter what age you are or were when this thought got ‘stuck’, particularly something negative in your mind that you feel you need to ‘figure out’ or ‘fix’, there are some common patterns.

Sometimes we need to work out traumas and go through a difficult and painful process of talking through things, making sense of something so that we can see it in a new light and process through to get to a better place so that we are not consumed by it. But what if having gone through such a process, or perhaps not necessarily needing to if it wasn’t particularly severe, we still have negative thoughts, feelings or memories popping into our minds? There are definitely times when we need to seek out help for mental health and do the hard work that goes along with that. But at other times we may just be allowing ourselves to indulge in old thought patterns of rumination. For example ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ and getting stuck in someone else’s negative words or opinions about you or the way they treated you that was unkind or unfair.

Having worked through the past, do we fall back into ruminating over it to no end? Do we allow ourselves to remain as a victim (and I know with deep sympathy from experience that there are times when we have been victimised and need to work through that pain and hurt and that’s ok), or do we allow ourselves to move on to being in a sense ‘rescued’, getting help, and then taking that big mental shift in seeing a new identity where we can be strong even in allowing the negative things that we all in different ways experience in our lives in this world to be used for good – do we allow ourselves to move from rescued to rescuer?

Where are you today? Are you allowing negative thoughts from the past to overtake your present moments? Or even looking to the ‘good old days’ and lamenting where you are now instead? Take these thoughts and turn them for good. If you were hurt, seek ways in which you can heal and then eventually reach out to help someone else who might be hurting now. Put this into practice and allow a gradual mental shift from victim to survivor to overcomer to thriver and victor. I believe in our core soul this healing, deep healing is only every fully possible in Jesus Christ, His Love Is a balm, and His suffering can bring victory over evil. Yet no matter where you are in your thinking or beliefs or what you are going through, don’t let your thoughts crush you. Take them, use them and change the track of your mind one thought at time. Seek to know the Truth that will make you free. x

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Your Value…

Your value cannot be added to nor taken away. At some point in your life, you will have doubted this. At some point, each of us have been brought to question our value, whether in a slight way or a traumatic way. Trauma is subjective, so something like a word spoken against us in childhood may have had profound negative effects on our sense of self, identity, worth and value in life.

Children take their own lives because of the abuse of bullying, the wounds of words and even if we survive things like constant demoralisation in childhood, the negative effects can reverberate well into adulthood, even if we accomplish many things.

Our value cannot be diminished, nor taken away. We are in a battle within a world that constantly lies to us about where our worth lies. Do not believe these lies, hold fast to the Truth, believe that the damage done to you, a precious soul, can be undone.

If you have been on the planet long enough, or even as we sadly see in the news, for a very short time, as children experience terrible things, you will know what it is to feel ‘less than’.

Your worth cannot be added to, nor taken away. No matter who said what to you, or who did what to you, or what you did, your worth, your intrinsic worth, as a human being, cannot change.

You were worth the Precious, Holy Blood of Jesus Christ shed for you at the Cross, to forgive you, cleanse you from within, and make you a new creation, healing you of all of the damage done to you and that you have done. That Is Priceless.

Wherever you are on life’s journey, whatever has been said or done to you, choose to believe the Truth over lies. Choose to believe the Truth over your distorted feelings and thoughts about yourself or what you experienced and what happened to you. You are priceless, but you have a choice. Choose to go to the Healer, The One Whose arms are always open to you, The One Whose Love will, in time, set you completely free. You will be clothed in purity, in righteousness, faultless, unblemished, and soaked with real, tangible, pure Love.

Being set free is a process, but you can choose to begin this by asking Him, The Only One Who can truly help you and heal those deep, deep wounds, and cleanse those deep sins, and soothe your scars. You will be transformed from the inside out, and as you let Him, your deep pain and shattered brokenness will know the Healing Balm of Christ’s love, comfort and forgiveness – His Spirit Is Real and indwells believers and gives a comfort like no other. I know. We all are broken in some way, but not beyond repair. We all are sinners, but not beyond His Amazing, Redemptive Love and Forgiveness. Just ask. Such a free gift of Love, Real Tangible Heart Healing Love Is one not to be refused, so why do you stand afar off, when He Is the Source of Life?

Yes, bad things happen, we are in a broken world, and there is evil, and a battle in this world, even for our very souls. But Christ Is Greater. He Is Truth. You will be told many lies about Him, but unless you know Him for yourself, you will remain entangled in those lies. His Love Is Real, Tangible, Pure and He Is quietly changing things from the inside out. One day we all will see this. Make sure you have made the right choice. Choose today, call out to Jesus, it will change your life.

Your worth cannot be added to, nor taken away. To Him – you are Priceless, worth His Blood, He chose that for you. He Loves you. Think about that. ❤ x

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Making a Difference…

I can sometimes feel a bit down when reading the news headlines and learning more about the terrible and dark things going on in the world. I’m sure each and everyone of you can relate. We weren’t ultimately made for a reality like that, our hearts yearn for something complete, loving, perfect and whole. Our hearts yearn for comfort from within, and an everlasting comfort, for a Love that goes beyond what we see day in and day out around us.

It got me to thinking that while so much bad is going on in the world, each and every one of us can make a difference, even in the smallest of ways, each day of our lives. We can make a difference by sharing kindness, encouragement, Truth and love.

You can make a difference in your blog, in how you treat the person you are with in this moment, of how you treat the people you encounter in your day.

It might not seem much, but it can be. So make a difference today ❤

x

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Don’t compare…

The pandemic hastens on. If you are feeling lonely, struggling, not sure what to do, for whatever circumstances you are feeling stuck at home or left behind while others around you go on living life or seem to be having all the good times, friend, don’t compare.

This advice is as much for me as it is for you. We can only ever live one day at a time. Your journey is completely different to that other person’s with whom you compare. Maybe things are going great for them and not for you, well, lift your focus. Change the direction of your thoughts away from comparison that might just hurt your heart and bring you down and think about what you can do with your life today….even if that thing is just to slow down and to rest.

You matter. I believe you matter to God. I believe that Jesus Christ Is able to help you, and me, and you just need to turn away from what is wrong, including what is wrong inside of you, and ask Him for help. He loves you. And even if you don’t believe, find comfort in knowing that the measure of your life is not a measure against anyone else’s. Take this day as it comes. Look for joy in the small things. Be happy for other people, be kind to yourself and don’t compare. Think that how you are feeling might just be similar to how someone else is feeling right now. Can you reach out to them? Let them know they’re not alone? Can you reach out to someone you don’t even know, someone suffering, some charity? Give as you live. Take things a moment at a time. Be thankful. Stay safe and call out for the Name of Love, the One Who will see you through. ❤ x

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The pandemic continues…hang in there…keep your head up, and your heart strong…

Dear friends,

When I started this blog in 2017 I never could have imagined that just a few years later I’d be writing blogs to encourage people through a global pandemic. I don’t think any of us could have imagined such a thing. If you look back through my ‘archives’ of posts to early 2020, you would see posts all about 2020 vision, hopeful posts and plans to perhaps travel. In the UK the big news story at the time was Brexit and I had in mind that I’d like if possible to travel to the European countries that I hadn’t yet got the chance to visit. In Australia I think the big story was about the bush fires. Oh my, friends, how much we have seen and heard of since then!

I don’t know which country you live in, but the whole world in 2020 was coming to grips with the coronavirus pandemic, after that there have been variations in how individual countries, and even states, deal with things. It has been a challenging time for many. Just as we were feeling that maybe if we can get through winter there might be more settled days ahead, we hear of a new variant, Omicron I believe it is called, that has taken hold in some countries and might possibly be the next variant of concern leading to another pandemic.

I won’t get into the ‘ins and outs’ of that as I realise my readers may have different opinions, but on a personal level I just want to reach out to you with some encouragement.

You’re not alone. I realise these are uncertain days, but try to lift up your minds and thoughts to what is Greater. Find hope in your everyday in some small way. I have written a whole series of blog posts, possibly nearing a hundred posts on surviving the pandemic, so no doubt there will be something that I wrote back then that will be applicable or helpful to you today.

Today, know that you’re not alone. You are loved. My hope is in Jesus Christ, the source of True Love. Even though in this world there is trouble, He has overcome the world. He will walk with us through it.

No matter what you think or believe right now, just know that if you are finding things challenging right now, you are not alone. Try to move slowly through your day. It’s easy to say, right? It’s easy to say try not to worry when as human beings we are prone to worry, but just think of all the tools and techniques you have learned over the past year or two in the pandemic (or more, through your life) and remind yourself of how far you have come, and keep going. If you are doing well right now, remind yourself that there are many others who aren’t and seek in some small way each day to show kindness, encouragement and love.

Even on the blogging community we can do this, we can help and encourage one another with our words – words are so powerful, life and death are in the power of the tongue so think of how incredible it could be if we all speak life to each other and encourage each other in these days.

Talk to someone. Share your burdens, ask for help if need be.

Revisit your hobbies or try something new if you don’t have any. It is important to keep our minds occupied because we hear so much in the news that can affect us negatively. It’s important to be informed and wise about keeping ourselves and others safe, but it’s also important to be aware of how things affect us.

Take it one day at a time, one step at a time.

That’s my word of encouragement, because I know we all need it.

Sending virtual hugs and much love to you all.

God bless. Stay safe. Take care. x

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Do your anxious thoughts need an outlet?

Anxiety is not uncommon, especially, at the time of writing, in a global pandemic.

Sometimes our anxious thoughts and imaginings can render us immobile and ‘incapable’ of doing something useful or productive. We might even slump into a depressive state where we want to hide and retreat.

If you are struggling with your anxious thoughts and feelings, as well as the practical steps that I have highlighted in other blog posts (simply do a ‘search’ for ‘anxiety’ on my blog and you’ll find lots of helpful articles), you might feel the need to have an outlet for your thoughts.

Talk to Someone who cares about you:

A helpful thing to do to rationalise and untangle some of our difficult thoughts could be to talk to someone who knows you and cares about you and who will listen. If you feel like you don’t have such a person in your life, maybe you can phone a mental health helpline to talk through things with someone or even contact a doctor if you need to. Talking to a trusted friend or family member, even if it isn’t face to face, can help to alleviate your feelings of stress and anxiety and they may be able to help you make sense of some of your thoughts, or even offer a better or more helpful perspective on things. Talking things through can help get you out of your own head space, especially if you are not able at the current time to make sense of things or find a better perspective.

Write it down:

Writing can help externalise thoughts that you are keeping bottled up inside of yourself. As well as writing to make sense of things for your own well being, you could also try to think of ways in which you would help a friend who was struggling with the things you are just now. Imagine or think of what you would say to someone who needed help or encouragement with the problem you are facing, and try to apply that kind and encouraging advice to yourself. Perhaps you could even try blogging about your experience to share and find connection with others.

Read:

On a similar note, we can feel much less alone when we are able to read or hear about other people who are going through or have overcome things that we might be finding challenging. In a pandemic you are not alone in feeling anxious and uncertain, and you might be able to connect with others of a like mind and help each other through. As a note of caution, try not to focus too much on things that are problematic, but try to find solutions as you read and learn more about things you and others are experiencing in life.

Break things down:

When our thoughts get the better of us, it may be because we have too little distance from them. Try breaking things down. If you have a thought that distresses you, why not write it down, and analyse it to find a more helpful perspective, or ask a friend or family member to help you with this.

For example, if you have a thought ‘I just don’t know what’s going to happen or how I’ll handle the future’, take a step back from it, take a look at it and how it is making you feel, and find a better way of looking at it that will help you move forwards.

Know that many, many people right now have such thoughts and fears. Maybe we don’t know how we’ll handle a big, unknown future, but can we handle the next five minutes, the next day? If that seems more manageable start there and build on from that, write down some practical steps you may need to take in looking at future plans or decisions, and ask someone for help and advice so that you don’t need to go it alone.

Take a break:

It can be hard focusing on the negative cycle of thoughts all the time, so make sure you don’t do that. Easier said than done, right? Find something that will intercept your thoughts in a more productive way, for example, plan some small activities that will absorb your mental energy and focus. This could be something like cooking a meal, or making a simple sandwich or a cup of tea. It could be taking five or ten minutes to engage in a creative pursuit. It could be taking time to read a book, or a helpful blog, or to talk to a friend.

Add structure:

Following on from the above, planning little activities or ‘chunks of time’ can help add structure to your day and can help move you through the day in a less anxious way. Knowing what you have to do in the morning, afternoon and evening can help take you away from a whirlwind of thoughts and can help you find enjoyment and productivity along the way.

Look to the needs of others:

Sometimes looking away from our own thoughts to the needs of others can be a real help for ourselves too! Helping someone else, even in a small way, can take our thoughts outwards, so that we can focus on the needs of someone else. It will help us realise that we are able and capable and can do things that bring comfort to someone else as well as receiving help which is totally ok too.

Fresh air and outdoors:

As well as looking to the needs of others, we can look up into the beauty of the world around us. We face so much of the world that is negative through our computer screens and the constant stream of news that we receive. Looking at the natural world can really help to calm our minds and nervous systems, and even bring new thoughts to us.

As well as looking up and out at nature, we may find the benefit of reaching up in Faith. ❤

I hope some of these tips have been helpful for you. You’ve made it another day in this pandemic, and if you’re feeling anxious, know that you’re not alone. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time, and try to find something to enjoy today, even if in the smallest of moments.

Take care. Be blessed. ❤ x

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